Local Spotlight: Ogden arts festival

The Ogden arts festival is in its 9th year and there are some exciting things going on this year that you don’t want to miss. John and Mikaela went down to the union station to sit in on one of the meetings  and get some questions from the busy organizers. Be sure to keep an eye out because we will be featuring a ton of new articles all about Ogden  Arts Fest right here on Indie Ogden!


What are your names and what do you do at art fest?

Suzy Dailey– Arts festival director

Diana Azevedo– Artists coordinator

Tracy Ehrig– Art director

Roberta Beverly– Union station foundation director/grant writer

When did the arts festival start?

There was much debate  and laughing when I asked this question

Suzy ” It’s our 9th year”

Tracy ” It’s our 9th one in 8 years, remember we did two in one year remember?”

Suzy “Wait lets look at the poster, it should have the date on it”

Roberta “This poster says 2005”

Suzy “That can’t be right”

Roberta “Now that’s a good story, our 30 minute conversation about when the festival started”

After a bit of research, some chocolate and more laughter we found that the first art fest was  October 21st 2004.

Who are the founders of art fest and what inspired the start of art fest?

Tracy  “Suzy Dailey and Tammy Crowley were a couple of the original founders”

Suzy “We started this right after the city pulled funding for the union station in 2004”

Roberta “It’s always been at union station and in fact it was to educate people and to bring them in here tp see this amazing place we have here. ”

Suzy “We wanted to bring people down to this jewel of Ogden and at the same time raise money to keep it going.”

Roberta “Before 2004 the union station was run by city employees and then mayor Godfrey decided that the city really couldn’t afford it so the city offered it to the union station foundation and that’s when we took it over and we have done it ever since. ”

Tracy “The money we earn in the union station is what we use to keep this open- the room rental, the leases (union grill, trains hop and forest service who is leaving unfortunately), the gift shop… all of these keep the building open”

Roberta “Since 2008 the foundation had taken over raising money, that is when the city officially stopped helping”

Tracy “And our electric bill is $10,00 a month”

::Tons of laughter::

Diana “And our quest star bill is about $8000 a month”

Roberta “We have to work really hard to keep this place open”

Tracy  “And we all work so hard because we love this place”

Roberta “Lets not be too hard on the city, they do own the building and they do capital improvements. The city  does the roofing fix the broilers and that type of stuff”

Tracy “And even though we need to raise so much money we still love to do discounted events and rentals for charities and community events because that is where our hear it, in the  community”

Suzy “Ogden is so full of really talented artists and we really wanted them to have their own festival and we also wanted to help out the merchants on 25th street. 9 years ago 25th street was not what it is today and we wanted to support them and show what it had to offer”

What can people expect when they come to Ogden Arts fest?

Suzy “People probably come primarily for the artists booths and we really try to focus on the  fine arts. If a jeweler comes they must make every piece of their jewelry, everything at the festival is handcrafted. we really want to be a fine arts festival. ”

Tracy “And of course there’s the entertainment, the food, the booths, lots of fun”

What are you most excited about happening at the Ogden Arts Fest this year? 

RobertaPlein air, definitely. Plein air is a french expression that  means ‘in the open air’  and was founded by impressionist painters such as Monet. So the requirements are   the artists gets  a stamped canvas  and they go and they sit outside and they paint. They have to have it in to us at a certain time, framed and ready to hang. usually it is oil so usually the paintings are wet. ”

Suzy “The longer competition starts on June first and they pick up their canvas at Ogden blue and they have to turn it in 5 days later. Saturday artists can check in at 8:30 and it has to be back by 12:30 and those paintings will be out under a canopy on 25th street. In both cases the paintings will be up for auction or have a buy it now price. Last year i think people were getting discouraged because the same people kept winning so this year we have different divisions so artists are competing in their own skill level”

John “So can artists go anywhere in Ogden or are there limits to where they can take their canvas?”

Roberta “We do have boundaries that we give the artists but there are lots of places they can go”

Suzy “We also have the Music and there are 2 stages with different bands playing”

Mikaela “Last year I loved sitting next to the stage and eating snow cones with my daughter while listening to music”

Tracy “Someone should make wine snow cones! ”

Mikaela “mojito snowcones!”

Suzy “We also have the art activities  we have going on- kid Artivities, nurture the creative mind has a booth with painters and poetry, there’s screen printing from Weber state and an art truck project and it is all free”

What is taste of downtown

Tracy “There are 9 restaurants who each donate 400 samples of their food (we sell 400 tickets)  and you can come and  get samples from each restaurant for only $10. We  have been sold out at 300 tickets so this year we are doing 100 more. The plein air auction is also happening at the same time so we hope that people come and shop and check out the art”

Roberts  “And enjoy the beautiful station. Oh the bread pudding!”

Tracy “It’s so good!”

What is your favorite  Art Fest moment?

Tracy “last year when we went down under the tents at the beer gardens and we were watching the concert..”

Suzy “oh ya and we actually got to listen to some of the music..”

Tracy and Suzy “and have a beer”

Tracy “It was all worth the work because we work all year to make it happen and then we get to finally have a little down time and go and be in the crowd and be a part of it, that to me is my favorite part.. .And having a glass of wine is nice too”

Suzy “I have 2 favorite moments one is when I see all the kids tables packed with kids and they are really having fun and hopefully they are learning something. The second is when all the plein air paintings come in. It’s so amazing to see , less than 48 hours ago these were blank canvases and now I am in a room full of brand new beautiful paintings.”

Tracy “It’s neat to meet the artists after we have seen them online and looked at their work and then to meet them in person is really cool”

Roberta “Another neat thing about plein air is to see the painting be created from someones mind, through their hand and onto the canvas- especially if you cant do it yourself”

How can someone get  involved with Ogden Arts Festival?

Tracy “You  can go on the website and find the volunteer coordinator  and give her a call, or anyone us really and we will give you a job to do”

Mikaela “What do you need volunteers to do?”

Tracy “We need help with set up and take down of the event, help with plein air, clean up after the event, directions and concierge for festival visitors”

Three things Readers should know about Art fest?

Suzy “It’s FREE!”

Tracy “You will see new and unexpected things”

Diana “You can find all kinds of art in one place- visual arts, literary arts, film, we have it all.

There you have it readers, start getting excited and check out http://www.ogdenartsfestival.com for more info!










Mikaela is a transplant from Portland, fell in love with Ogden her first day in town and created Indie Ogden the next week. She enjoys outdoor adventures with her 2 kiddos and making a mess crafting. You can find her at a local cafe or cycling around town with her family.